Weak hive and wax moths
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
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    14

    Default Weak hive and wax moths

    Hello everyone, I am a first year beekeeper near Sacramento California and I had a few questions. So because this is my first year I made the mistake of waiting to long to treat for varroa mites in the fall, I noticed there were numerous bees in my hive that had DWV and were also walking around outside the hive and not being able to actually fly correctly. Fearing that the hive was doomed to fail I went ahead and treated with an OAV 3 times over the span of 2 weeks, this semeed to do the trick when it came to the mites, on my bottom board after every treatment I noticed more and more mite fall off. However, quite a bit of damage had been done as there was only about half a frame of brood left in the hive and very small amount bees left but the queen had survived and still looked healthy so I figured Id let them be and try to rebound before winter. Fast-forward to this month and the bees have started to make their comeback, they now have about 2 full frames of brood and their numbers have grown to cover about 4 frames now, leaving 6 frames unattended. Today I did an inspection and noticed what I'm assuming was wax moths tunneling in the propolis between the frames, the hive is definitely weakened due to losing significant numbers but I'm not sure how I should react to seeing this, they have relatively good stores of both honey and pollen. Should I condense the 4 frames of bees that I have down into a nuc and overwinter them in that? Should I just remove the 6 frames they are not able to defend and leave the 4 they can in the hive until numbers rebound even more? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Wayne, WV, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    What is the current hive configuration? A single deep? a deep and a medium? double-deep?

    Hopefully someone from your area will chime in because I wouldn't know if you have a flow or not going on...

    Assuming your bees are in one brood box, consider removing the frames with moth tunnels and freeze overnight or a couple of days. Then replace the frames. The freezing will kill the moths and the bees will take care of the tunnels over time. If those frames to be frozen contain honey/pollen you might need to feed a little bit (but that's your judgement call).

    Crowding them a bit will help too.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,149

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    First, about the oxalic treatments, the 3 treatments will have killed a lot of mites, but not got them all. Recommend doing some more treatments. Once you are finding few to none mites on the drop board after a treatment, you know you have succeeded.

    I cannot comment about wintering where you are, but as to the wax moths, this. - Small hives that have wax moths encroaching on the unoccupied combs should have those combs removed. Basically you move the hive of whatever combs the bees are covering to one side of the box, then put a frame of foundation on the other side and leave the rest of the box empty. So there are no unguarded combs for wax moths to get established in. If the hive is in recovery mode, as yours is, gradually feed in more combs, as the bees can deal with them.

    I don't know if this is going to work for the bees wintering requirements, but it is how to fix a hive that is being destroyed by wax moths, as can happen to a small weak hive.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    As of now the configuration is a single deep 10 frame box, no flow going on right now but they are still bringing in pollen as of today. I think that I am going to remove the worrisome frames and freeze and use one empty frame to cap the side with no bees. Also I think I shall follow oldtimers advice!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    863

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Nursing a weak hive through the winter isn't worth the effort. If you have another hive, remove the queen from the weak hive and do a newspaper combine. If you don't have another hive to combine with, it will be a learning experience but make plans to purchase a new nuc or package in the spring. If you do get the hive through the winter, I'll bet that it will be a dink and not a producer next year.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Quote Originally Posted by andrewj54 View Post
    As of now the configuration is a single deep 10 frame box, no flow going on right now but they are still bringing in pollen as of today. I think that I am going to remove the worrisome frames and freeze and use one empty frame to cap the side with no bees. Also I think I shall follow oldtimers advice!
    Wise move. As I was reading Oldtimers advice I was saying “spot on”. Also feed feed feed. Sacto may still be warm enough for something like Prosweet and pollen patties if they are still flying no matter the stores. Small but healthy goes a long way.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
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    14

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    Nursing a weak hive through the winter isn't worth the effort. If you have another hive, remove the queen from the weak hive and do a newspaper combine. If you don't have another hive to combine with, it will be a learning experience but make plans to purchase a new nuc or package in the spring. If you do get the hive through the winter, I'll bet that it will be a dink and not a producer next year.
    Unfortunately this is the only hive that I have, and nursing it back will provide experience instead of letting die so I may as well.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,149

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Absolutely. Give it your best shot.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Quote Originally Posted by LAlldredge View Post
    Wise move. As I was reading Oldtimers advice I was saying “spot on”. Also feed feed feed. Sacto may still be warm enough for something like Prosweet and pollen patties if they are still flying no matter the stores. Small but healthy goes a long way.
    Sounds good, Today I went ahead and condensed them down. Right now what is remaining in the brood box consists of: 2 frames of brood sandwiched between 3 frames of honey/pollen and one blank frame on the outside. I have sugar water on and may consider purchasing a pollen patty soon, we will stay in the low 60's mid-high 50's through the winter. Compared to what I saw a few weeks ago the hive is starting to rebound I am just not sure how well they'll be able to overwinter with lower numbers, but still gonna give it a shot and learn what I can!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,149

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    That is similar winter temperatures to my winter. Simple to get hives through and I even take 3 frame nucs through. What are your minimum night time temperatures? Here we never go below about 35. If you are dropping a lot below that, would also have to be considered in the way the hive is set up.

    Two main things needed. Healthy, mite free bees, and enough food.

    At this time, the bees know winter is coming so will not be so keen to grow numbers using existing stores, they will only keep creating brood if they think they have new resources coming in, so giving them some sugar water is the right move. Some pollen if they are low on it. Just don't want to overdo it but want them feeling like there is a flow on. Pay also to reduce the entrance down to an inch or two, with the entrance hole where the bees are so they can guard against robber bees.

    Artificially stimulating bees at this time of year is not what we would normally be doing, but in your situation, the more bees you can create in this hive going into winter, the better.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    6,814

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Easy peasy in our climate. Keep the feed on, I use Prosweet. A small pollen patty is fine too, make sure no SHB are feeding on it. I have about 25 queens born 9/7 in small nucs in full sun and they are thriving. Keep waterproof covers on. Frame feeder the best.
    Warm, fed, dry and treated, Apivar. 13 - 9/7 born queens mated 100' from the 101 slow lane in San Mateo on my new queen mating / full sun nuc table. We have already moved up into full boxes.

    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    10,149

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Love your signature Odfrank
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Weak hive and wax moths

    Encouraging messages. Really enjoyed OdFrank's warm, fed. dry and treated. Cozy and snug will help with the warm part. Yes, don't forget the pollen and remaining mite treatments. People forget about the importance of protein in the fall which I think is a mistake. I was just talking to a commercial beek about this yesterday. Protein is the building block for new bees. The only mistake in my mind that overfeeding protein can render is in the event of no flying weather (nosema) or building them up so much that they starve. Both very unlikely events for you at this juncture. Feeding also increases the lifespan of the colony from not having to forage. It also improves the morale of the hive. Something not often talked about but you know it when you see it.

    I fed the living daylights out of a 4 X 4 swarm I caught in mid August and they are thriving at this writing. Best of luck to you. Please keep us posted as we are pulling for this little one.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

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